This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, December 26, 2006

In Alaska

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• In 1967, 157 technicians and clerks went on strike at the Ballistic Missile Early Warning Center site in Clear. (The BMEWS remained in operation.)

In the nation

• In 1776, the British suffered a major defeat in the Battle of Trenton during the Revolutionary War.

• In 1799, former President George Washington was eulogized by Col. Henry Lee as "first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen."

• In 1917, during World War I, President Wilson announced the U.S. government would take over operation of the nation's railroads.

• In 1931, the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical play "Of Thee I Sing" opened on Broadway.

• In 1941, Winston Churchill became the first British prime minister to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress.

• In 1944, Tennessee Williams' play "The Glass Menagerie" was first performed publicly at the Civic Theatre in Chicago.

• In 1996, 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family's home in Boulder, Colo. (To date, the slaying remains unsolved.)

• In 2005, "Monday Night Football" ended an unprecedented 36-year run on ABC TV with a lackluster game, a 31-to-21 New England Patriots victory over the New York Jets. (The series switched to ESPN the following season.)

In the world

• In 1944, during the World War II Battle of the Bulge, the embattled U.S. 101st Airborne Division in Bastogne, Belgium, was relieved by units of the Fourth Armored Division.

• In 1980, Iranian television footage was broadcast in the U.S., showing a dozen of the American hostages sending messages to their families.

• In 2001, the Arabic TV station Al-Jazeera aired new videotaped excerpts of Osama bin Laden in which the al-Qaida leader condemned the U.S. as a nation that committed crimes against millions of Afghans. Hundreds of Iraqi Kurds, Afghans, Iranians and other refugees from a Red Cross center in France began two days of attempting to cross illegally into Britain through the Channel Tunnel, shutting down train traffic.

• In 2003, an earthquake struck the historic Iranian city of Bam, killing at least 26,000 people.

• In 2004, more than 200,000 people, mostly in southern Asia, were killed by a tsunami triggered by the world's most powerful earthquake in 40 years beneath the Indian Ocean.

• In 2005, survivors wept and prayed beside mass graves and at beachside memorials in Indonesia, marking one year since earthquake-churned walls of water crashed ashore in a dozen nations, sweeping away hundreds of thousands of lives.

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